Walt Disney Animation's 2023 Movie Announced At D23 Expo Has A Huge Connection To Disney's History

Wish logo Walt Disney Animation Studios
(Image credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Next year is a massive one for the history of the Walt Disney Company. After all, it was all the way back in 1923 that Walt and Roy O. Disney founded the studio, which makes 2023 the massive conglomerate's 100th anniversary. Naturally, there is going to be a whole lot of celebrating going on in many different forms – but one special way that the occasion is being marked is on the big screen with the release of Walt Disney Animation Studio's Wish, a new film that was just announced this afternoon at D23 Expo 2022.

While we're still waiting for the arrival of the latest movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios (Strange World, which will be out in November), Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee took the stage at Hall D23 at the Anaheim Convention Center today to announce what is coming from the legendary brand in 2023. The movie will be called Wish because it is inspired by the long history of Disney characters wishing upon a star, and it will be directed by Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn. You can check out a first look at the movie via the Tweet from Disney Animation below:

As noted in the Tweet, Ariana DeBose will be voicing the protagonist in Wish, who is the girl you see sitting on a tree branch in the image. Her name is Asha, and she is a 17-year-old girl from Rosas – which is known as the kingdom of wishes because it is a place where residents can wish upon a star and see their dreams become reality. Another character you can spot in the first look still above is Valentino, a goat wearing pajamas that wishes for the ability to speak (and is voiced in the movie by Alan Tudyk).

According to Chris Buck and Fawn Veerasunthorn, Wish will see Asha make a plea so impassioned to the sky that an actual star comes down to Earth, and it will be a silent character in the film the communicates via pantomime (which will surely be a blast for the movie’s animators to create). Star is described as a "cosmic force made of possibility, imagination and hope," and as a “little ball of boundless energy,”  which means that he should add to the great, long legacy of adorable Disney characters.

Chris Buck added that the movie will "take the concept of Easter eggs to a whole new level" – getting us excited for all kinds of fun inside references to the 100 years of Disney movies – and fans will be very excited to learn that it is the latest Walt Disney Animation Production that is also a musical. The music is being written by Julia Michaels, and the first song from the movie, "More of Us," was performed by Ariana DeBose on stage at D23 Expo.

Between this news about Wish, the announcement about Pixar developing Inside Out 2, and the first ever trailer for The Little Mermaid, the first day of D23 Expo 2022 provided a whole lot of excitement for fans – but the truth of the matter is that we're only scratching the surface in regards to what the convention is delivering. The action will continue throughout the weekend, with the big show coming tomorrow morning as audiences at the event are given a preview of everything that is in the works from Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and 20th Century Studios.

Take a look at our Upcoming Disney Animation guide to learn about all of the movies that are on the way from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar, and check out our 2022 Movie Release Calendar to learn about all of the feature releases scheduled to hit theaters and streaming between now and the end of the year.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.